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An English Ghost Story

By Nicky Peacock

England is packed with ghosts. For such a small island we are crammed to the rafters with spooks, legends and beasts that lurk just beyond the shadows. And where I live is pretty much ghost central.

Every pub, housing estate, forest, shop and road seems to have either a: mad monk, headless horseman, dark knight, lady in white, phantom huntsman, naughty nun, spectral dog, butt pinching cavalier, lost drummer boy, ghostly royal and so much more. I grew up on ghost stories, everyone seemed to have one and no story was more worrying than the one my own parents would tell me.

When they were first married they lived in an apartment in a small market town down the road from where I live now. Its architecture is old, it’s roads bumpy and it’s rumored to sit slap bang on top of a lay line. Strange things happened in that apartment: groceries would stack themselves neatly on the stairs in an obvious numerical pattern. Phantom footsteps marched the halls keeping my mum awake at night. The family Xmas tree would always get pulled over (no matter how much tape you used to secure it to the table) and mouse traps would get sprung on their own.

But it was when my mum’s little pet bird turned to her one night and started yelling at her in a bizarre and unknown language that my parents decided enough was enough and moved away into the house that I would eventually be born into.

Years later I was sat having my hair cut when my hairdresser, who I had known for many years, began to tell me stories about the house where she had grown up. The more I heard the more eerily similar it sounded to my parent’s tales. I waited till she had finished then asked the address.

It was the same place. Her parents had bought all the apartments and turned them into one house – a house that seemed hell bent on not having an Xmas tree, that stacked items from their kitchen up the stairs and that animals were afraid to enter.

Being a writer, I’ve often wanted to investigate a little further. My hairdresser’s family moved out of the house years ago and now new owners are there. I’ve toyed with the idea of putting a note through their door to ask if they wanted to talk, but I don’t want to scare them anymore than they perhaps already are.

To be honest I’m generally a little hesitant. In a town of over 90,000 people, what were the odds of my hairdresser having lived in the same haunted house as my parents? Maybe fate is pulling me in that direction anyway, reaching out to me with spectral hands for a cold embrace– perhaps the ghost wants me there with it? Am I stupid enough to investigate this house… probably, I’ve been known to do many a daring thing in the name of a good story.

But, thinking about it, house prices are pretty high in the UK right now. I’m betting the present owners might sell the place for a knocked-down price to someone who knows and accepts its ghostly eccentricities… Hmmm, I don’t much like Xmas trees either, maybe it’s a match made in hell?

Nicky Peacock is an English author in the UK. She writes both YA and adult: horror, urban fantasy and paranormal romance. She has been published in five countries: USA, UK, Australia, Ireland, and Canada and has had short stories included in 40 anthologies with over 17 publishers. Her latest book, Bad Timing, was released in December 2015.

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